Father, we’re grateful for today. We’re grateful for a lot of things, particularly this time of year where, in the month of November, we focus on our blessings. You’ve blessed us with so many things, Father. I pray today would be a reminder of that, and that we would leave here people with an attitude of gratitude.
It’s so easy to focus on what’s wrong in our lives and not focus on the many things that You’ve done for us. Help us to have that frame of mind as we gather as Your people today and look into Your Word. We’ll be careful to give You all the praise and glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name.”
God’s people said, “Amen.”
Let’s open our Bibles to Revelation 20:10. We are continuing with our study on angelology. Having covered the good angels, we moved into a key evil angel, Satan. And if time permits, we’re going to actually be moving into demonology today. We’ll have to see how it goes.
When we looked at Satan, we looked at his existence, his personhood, his names and titles, his original state, and first sin. And from there we’ve been looking at his works in depth—past, present, and future.
We’ve gone through most of the things that Satan has done in the past. We’ve taken a look at the things he’s doing right now in the present—and that’s a lot of stuff! Then last week we started to look at his future. What does the future have in store for Satan?
Unless you understand the future of Satan, you really can’t make sense of the world that we’re living in, and you can’t really make sense of the intensity of the hatred that Satan has for the human race. Why is Satan such a ferocious opponent of the human race? Why does he try to keep people in darkness? Why does he try to keep people from coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ? It really relates to his future.
Some of the things he will do in the future we covered last time.
Yet what does the future say? The Kingdom of God through great warfare is going to come to the earth anyway, and it’s during that time that Satan will be bound for thousand years. We see that the binding of Satan is yet future—when the Kingdom comes. This helps us a great deal in spiritual warfare because a lot of people are binding Satan now in their prayer life, but this is an exercise in futility since we know from the Bible that only Christ is going to bind Satan permanently and that doesn’t come until the Kingdom arrives.
At the end of that Kingdom Age he’s going to lead a final rebellion. He comes out of his abyss, and he deceives the nations again. We talked a little bit at the end last time. I had to jam it in, unfortunately, that the rebels there in Revelation 20:7-9 are the mortal descendants of those who survived the Tribulation period.
The Millennial Kingdom is an interesting time period where you have resurrected and non-resurrected people dwelling together. We as members of Christ’s church who receive our resurrected bodies at the point of the Rapture will actually return with Jesus in those resurrected bodies to rule and reign with Him as He delegates authority to us in the Millennial Kingdom.
Since we will be in resurrected bodies, we won’t be involved in that final rebellion. But you will have a different category of people who survive the Tribulation period. Some of them are believers, deemed to be sheep, Matthew 25:31-46. They enter the Kingdom in mortal, non-resurrected bodies. They have children; their children have children; their children have children; the earth gets repopulated. And what just got passed down through the genetics? The sin nature.
When Satan is released at the end of that thousand-year time period and incites a rebellion (Revelation 20:7-9), he’s actually inciting mortals who have lived in perfection for 1,000 years. One of the points I tried to make last time is that this is one of the reasons God allows this era of history to elapse.
One of things to understand about God is that history is pedagogical. “Pedagogy” is teaching. God allows eras of history to elapse to teach humanity certain lessons. God is always teaching. He teaches in didactic form in His Word, but He also teaches through allowing eras and epochs to transpire.
One of the things that’s happening today is God is pouring out His grace on a group of people, and the grace is being poured out in a way that’s unprecedented! And that’s us—that’s the church! Ephesians 1:3 tells us that we have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.
So many Christians try to come before God. They kneel and say, “Lord, I just want You to bless me. Bless me! Bless me! Bless me!” And God is basically in heaven saying, “Well, you need to read the owner’s manual! You’re already maxed out in terms of your blessings! I can’t make you any richer than you already are,” in other words. And that’s what the Book of Ephesians—particularly the first three chapters—is about.
You ask yourself, “Why has God allowed this era of unprecedented grace to take place? It’s been happening for 2000 years.” Well, history is pedagogical. And one of the things that’s happening is that God is using this era to fill out knowledge of the grace of God in the angelic world. That’s why, when you read passages like Ephesians 3:10 and 1 Peter 1:12, you see that the angels are watching.
The angels are not omniscient—they are created beings—so they have to study and learn. If we have time, we’ll get to this today related to demons; the plan of salvation is not open to angels. If it were, Jesus would have had to become an angel and die on the cross, which He did not do.
The reason that the angels are studying us so intently is because they’re learning something about God’s character—that they really don’t know much about—which is His grace, or unmerited favor. They know about His judgment because Lucifer rebelled and a third of their colleagues lost their positions in heaven.
They know about His Holiness because the seraphim say what around-the-clock? “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of armies…” (Isaiah 6:3). They know about His creative power, because Job 38:4-7 talks about the angels praising God as God was creating all things in six days.
They understand His creative power. They understand His Holiness. They understand His judgment. What they don’t fully understand is His grace. One of the reasons for that is there is no plan of salvation for the angelic world. That’s why the New Testament keeps portraying them as watching us all of the time, because history is pedagogical.
Another example of history being pedagogical is the Book of Judges. Have you read the Book of Judges lately? Kind of sounds like the United States of America! It’s very, very depressing watching seven cycles of sin, leading to consequences, leading to God’s people crying out for help, leading to God raising up a judge, leading to freedom from oppression, leading to prosperity, and then the whole thing happens again.
They go back into sin—oppression—and God raises up a judge after they cry out. This happens in the Book of Judges over a time period of 300 years. That’s a lot of space chronologically! The United States of America is what? 243 years old. We’re talking about 300 years there! And this cycle happens not once, not twice, but seven times!
You read the Book of Judges and it’s so monotonous—it keeps happening. And you say, “God, why do You keep allowing this to take place?” Well, history is pedagogical. And it’s not until you get to the end of the Book of Judges—chapters 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21—and you start seeing the reason why God allowed that 300 years to happen. Because it says in that section, about four times, “There was no king in Israel in those days.” What days? The 300 years I just explained. “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
What God is explaining to Israel is, “The only way I can successfully govern you is through a King which you don’t have yet.” Of course, that King ultimately is going to be Yeshua, or Jesus Christ. But they have to have a king over them. God could come down and write on the sky or make some kind of audible expression, “Y’all need a king!” The problem is, they don’t understand that. They thought they were functioning fine under the Judges era. So God says, “Fine. Try it for 300 years and see how it works.” God used history to teach. You see that?
A lot of people—it’s sad to watch—act like the Millennial Kingdom is no big deal. They allegorize it and don’t treat it with the respect that it deserves, but the Millennial Kingdom—like the Judges era and like the Church Age—is an era of history where God is teaching humanity a lesson. The lesson is that evil does not come from the outside or the external; evil comes from the heart.
Now, how does God communicate that point? These mortals and their descendants who have a sin nature He lets live 1,000 years in a perfect environment. Nobody during the Millennial Kingdom is going to be able to complain about climate change, lack of universal healthcare, minimum income for everyone, racial bias, lack of social justice, structural bias.
Nobody’s going to be able to complain about that because the environment that humans are living in is perfect! It couldn’t get more perfect. And yet, what do people do at the end when given the first opportunity? Satan is let loose from the abyss and he deceives the nations.
It’s sad to read it because it says those involved in the rebellion are as the sand of the seashore. As that era of history transpires, God is saying, “See, I told you! Your problem is not your environment. Your problem is your wicked heart!” You see that?
So, Christianity is not about fixing the environment. That’s the mistake of the social justice movement! They’re getting all of these churches involved in all of these projects and causes. And the reality of the situation is, you can bring in a perfect environment—which man can’t do anyway—only Christ’s Kingdom can do it. And people living in 1,000 years of perfection can be as mean and as rotten as they’ve always been because evil emanates from the heart.
That’s why the message of Christianity is: You need to be changed on the inside! That’s the problem! The problem is that I’ve got a nature that hates God, which I inherited from Adam. And until that issue is rectified… And no change in healthcare, education, the ozone layer, or whatever people are into, is going to fix that problem! It’s only the new birth.
That’s why Jesus in His—Nick at night I call it—conversation with Nicodemus said that you must be born again to enter. So, being born again is a change on the inside that only the Holy Spirit can give as people receive the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Jesus is all about changing people on the inside.
So, how does God end up communicating this? History is pedagogical. He lets the Millennial Kingdom transpire to prove that point once and for all before human history as we know it ends. This earth is then going to be replaced by a new heavens and a new earth.
So, our message today is totally different than what you’re hearing from the politicians and liberal theologians who are always talking about fixing the outside. “Lack of education,” people say. “Gosh! We could make crime disappear if we just educated everybody properly.” Well, guess what happens when you educate a blue collar thief? He becomes a white collar thief. You give an education to a thief and the only thing you’ve really done is you’ve enhanced his capacity to steal. See that?
So, more education—pouring more and more dollars into education—is not going to solve anything. In fact, it might even make things worse because you’re giving wicked people more tools through which to engage in their wickedness. The world system does not understand this message at all. We understand it because we’re Bible readers. God is going to prove it once and for all by allowing the Millennial Kingdom to elapse because history is pedagogical.
That is one of the reasons that when you read Revelation 19:20, what you see is when Jesus comes back, He takes the beast and the false prophet and He throws them into the Lake of fire. So they’re done! You might even say they’re well done. They’re finished—it’s over for them.
By the way, they don’t disintegrate and disappear. A lot of people today—the Jehovah’s Witnesses and even some Evangelicals—are teaching annihilationism. Meaning that when you go into hell, you just disappear. No. Because when you get to Revelation 20:10—which we’re going to look at in just a second—Satan is thrown to where the beast and the false prophet are. It doesn’t say were; it says where they are! That’s 1,000 years later, and they’re still in there.
You’ll notice what God does. He takes the beast and the false prophet and puts them in the lake of fire, Revelation 19:20. They’re the first folks that enter the lake of fire. But Satan is not put into the lake of fire. Satan is put into a different place called the abyss, Revelation 20:2-3.
You say, “Why doesn’t God just come back and put everybody in the lake of fire?” We call these guys the unholy trinity: the beast, the false prophet, Satan. Why doesn’t He just throw all of them into the lake of fire simultaneously? Because history is pedagogical. God still has one more purpose for Satan before he joins his companions in the lake of fire.
God is going to actually use Satan for the pedagogical purpose of proving the true nature of man—that man is wicked from the inside. That wickedness is inside of people, and all they need is an opportunity to express it. Satan is like a slide (if you will) on God’s PowerPoint. He’s gotten through the part of the PowerPoint presentation dealing with the beast and the false prophet. God is finished using them as teaching devices, but He’s got one more slide for Satan. So He keeps him around for 1,000 years in solitary confinement—and then He lets him loose.
It’s a fascinating study to see how sovereign God is over Satan and how God is actually using Satan for God’s own purposes. A lot of people have this idea—we’ve covered this between God and Satan—that they’re basically equally matched. That’s called dualism. In other words, God has a rival. It’s like Rocky and Apollo getting into the ring; we don’t know who’s going to win. A lot of people look at the battle between God and Satan that way.
Actually, what your Bible teaches is this is no contest for the simple reason that Satan is a created being. God, in fact, is so much in control of things that He’s actually using His arch enemy as a point in His PowerPoint presentation. That’s why Satan is not thrown into the lake of fire immediately but is kept in this place called the abyss, because God has one more purpose for Satan.
It’s a wonderful reminder because we see evil all around us, and we get somewhat despondent about that. And we lose sight of the fact that we’re on the winning side of history. God is completely in control of everything—even over His greatest adversary, the devil.
These are all the things Satan will do. He will lead a final rebellion. And then the last thing that will happen to him? This is where I had you open up to Revelation 20:10. When all this is over and history has taught its lessons, He takes Satan and He throws him into the lake of fire, finally.
And that’s what you’re reading there in Revelation 20:10. It says, “And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, [watch this now] where the beast and the false prophet…” Now, how did they get in there? They were put in there 1,000 years earlier. What’s the next word? “…are …” They’re still in there! So annihilationism obviously isn’t true, or else these guys would’ve exploded, disappeared, or disintegrated a long time ago.
“…where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night [for how long?] forever and ever.” That’s an awful long time! So, this is the end of Satan here. And we learn from many, many passages, like… Feel free to follow me around (at least in your Bible). Matthew 25:41, “‘Then He will also say to those on His left, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for…”’” Those terrible human beings? It doesn’t say that, does it? “…which has been prepared for the devil and his angels…”
One of the things to understand about hell is that it was never originally created for people. And yet, if people will willfully reject the grace of God and cooperate with Satan, they end up sharing in his fate even though hell itself was not originally created for them.
Let me tell you something, this is probably one of the reasons that Satan doesn’t want Bible prophecy taught in local churches. We get umpteen emails weekly from people saying, “I can’t find a church that teaches Bible prophecy.” The reason for that is the devil doesn’t want this book taught!
Think about it for a minute. Would you want a book taught that spells out your demise prophetically? If there were some book that God wrote that spelled out how my life was going to end in tragedy, I wouldn’t want anything to do with that book! I would do everything in my power not to let that book get into print—let alone read!
This is one of the reasons why Bible prophecy—people who teach it and churches that embrace it—are in the minority. Because Satan is well aware of these prophecies. In fact, when you go to Matthew 8:29, something very interesting is said here.“And they cried out…” That would be the demons—these are the demons talking. The demons have more theological awareness than most pastors, elders, and deacons. The demons have more theological awareness than most seminary professors.
Look at what they say. If they submitted this comment to me for a grade, I’d have to give them an A+ because what these demons say is completely accurate. Matthew 8:29, “And they [that’s the demons] cried out, saying, “What business do we have with each other, Son of God?” Now look at that! That’s a pretty high Christology there! They know exactly who Jesus is: God in human flesh.
“‘What business do we have with each other, Son of God? Have You come here to torment us before the time?’” What time? The time in history where God prophetically fulfills His Word. Notice that they believe in prophecy. They believe in the deity of Jesus Christ. They may even have a belief in the Trinity. They believe, very clearly, there is a coming day of judgment, and they know they’re going to be judged.
They just concede these things openly and matter-of-factly. And when you understand this—that you’re dealing with a foe that is defeated—you understand his total hatred for the human race and why he does everything within his power to keep people from coming to a saving knowledge of Jesus. Because why would he want any created being—humanity included—to enjoy something throughout eternity that he will have no part of? See that?
The most desperate people in the world are people who know they’re going down. They know they’re going down. So their mindset is, “Okay. If I’m going down and that can’t be reversed, I’m going to pull as many people with me as I possibly can.” That’s the mindset of the enemy, and you can’t understand that mindset unless you become a student of Bible prophecy.
That completes our list of the future of Satan. One of the things I want to communicate is this list which shows you… I preached a sermon on this; it’s in our sermon archives, and it deals with the sevenfold defeat of Satan.
A lot of people have this idea that Satan is defeated in one fell swoop. They think he’s defeated in Revelation 20:10. No. That’s stage seven of a sevenfold variety in which Satan’s defeat is accomplished by God in seven stages. And if you want to understand where we’re living—we’re living in between number four and number five.
What are those seven stages? Stage number one was his initial eviction from heaven. We’ve studied those passages, Isaiah 14:12-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-17. He is cast out of heaven.
Number two. After the fall of man he’s defeated in Eden. Because in his presence a prophecy was given which is sometimes called the protoevangelium, meaning “first gospel.” This is your first formal proclamation of the gospel to the fallen human race, ever! That’s in Genesis 3:15.
In fact, Genesis 3:15 may very well be the most important verse in the whole Bible because the rest of the Bible is an unpacking of Genesis 3:15. Everything that happens in subsequent Scripture is related to a conflict that God explained would take place with Satan in Genesis 3:15, ultimately leading to his ultimate demise. So, right out of the gate, his doom is announced.
You remember Genesis 3:15. What does it say there? God speaks to the serpent who had just beguiled Eve—and ultimately Adam. God says, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman…” [the woman is Eve], and between your seed and her seed…” In other words, we have “seed,” or descendants of Satan, and then we have “seed,” or descendants of Eve.
“…He shall bruise you on the head…” Now, Who would this “He” be? This would be the coming one, the Messiah, Jesus Christ, Who is going to take Satan’s head and crush it. And we all know that when your head is crushed, you’re finished. Right?
But along the way, Satan, you’re going to be able to inflict a lot of what we would call “collateral damage” because the rest of the prophecy is, “‘…and you shall bruise him on the heel.’”
In other words, there is coming One into the human race Who’s going to take Satan’s head and crush it. And Satan is going to do everything within his power to try to stop that One from being born. And once He is born, “I’ll try to do everything within my power to prevent Him from accomplishing His mission.” Such as, for example, offering Him all the kingdoms of the world, and other things that Satan did with Jesus.
It’s like going to a movie and you’re five minutes late. Actually, this day and age being five minutes late to a movie doesn’t hurt much. I went to a movie recently, timed the commercials, and they went 27 minutes. So, if you’re late to a movie today, no big deal!
But let’s say you arrive 35 minutes late. You missed the first eight minutes of the movie, and you miss some kind of critical piece of information given at the beginning. Has that ever happened anybody? So, everything is happening in the movie and you’re not connecting the dots. You don’t know why things are happening. Whereas, if you’d been present at the beginning, the rest of the movie would’ve made perfect sense. That, basically, is Genesis 3:15.
Most Christians are on their one year reading plan—which is not a bad thing. You know, “Through the Bible in a year.” They’ve got to get through a certain number of chapters that day, so they’re really just rushing to get through it to mark it off their spiritual list. “Did that today!”
They’re reading Genesis 3, and it seems odd to them. They just read right over it and don’t understand it. Therefore, they don’t understand what’s going to happen in Genesis 4 where Cain kills his brother. “That’s weird! I mean, why would Cain just rise up and kill his brother?”
Well, 1 John tells you exactly why Cain did that! He was being influenced by the evil one. And Cain did that as an outworking of Genesis 3:15 because Satan was using Cain to kill Abel to stop the birth of the Messiah.
Do you remember? Abel’s sacrifice is accepted; Cain’s sacrifice is rejected. So, Satan probably figured at that point, “Well, this Messiah, Who I know is coming because He is announced in Genesis 3:15, is going to come through Abel’s line.” So, Satan uses Cain, through jealousy, to murder his brother.
And God, as He always does, gets around the satanic strategy with an alternative plan. In this case it was the birth of Seth. See that? And your whole Bible is going to start reading this way. Genesis 4 is just the first example of it, but you have multiple examples of what I’m talking about as you move through the Bible. Genesis 3:15 lays out the script, and the rest of the Bible is just filling in the details. It’s announced—right at the beginning—that Satan is defeated. Number two: Satan is defeated in Eden.
Now, we’re not going to get into details about this because we have a whole series of lessons coming on this in our angelology study, but one of the things Satan tried to do in Genesis 6:1-4 is he tried to impregnate human women to contaminate the genetics of the human race to prevent the birth of Whom? This Messiah that’s announced in Genesis 3:15.
He created what’s called the Nephilim—which means fallen ones—because he knows from this passage that this Messiah is coming from the seed of the woman. Who is the woman? The woman is Eve. Therefore, the Messiah must be fully human. Right? In addition to being fully God.
Satan says, “Well, I’ll fix this problem! I’ll create a race of people that aren’t fully human—a hybrid race—partly angel, partly human. That’s why they’re called the Nephilim—the fallen ones—because he’s trying to lock the human race into a permanent fallenness.
He’s trying to create a genetic climate whereby the Messiah can never come. Do you see that? And that’s why there’s all this information in Genesis 6:9—how Noah was “a just man, perfect in his generations.” (NKJV) Everybody looks at that and says, “Wow, what a great guy Noah was!” When Genesis 6:8 says, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (NKJV) Noah was a sinner just like anybody else.
After all, it was Noah in the post-flood world who was in a drunken state. So, when it says Noah was blameless and “perfect in his generations,” it’s not a statement about his morality. It’s a statement about his genetics.
In fact, when we get to that section, I’ll show you that one of the Hebrew words used there is used of the genetic purity of the Passover lamb in Exodus 12:5. The Passover lamb had to be genetically pure—no spots, blemishes, etc. So, we’re not talking about the morality of the Passover lamb; we’re talking about the genetic purity of the Passover lamb in Exodus 12. One of those words is used of Noah. So, Noah and his family, apparently, were one of the few that were uncontaminated by this genetic experiment.
So, when God brought the Flood, He did it to first of all destroy the hybrid race—the Nephilim. And He did it to preserve Noah genetically because through Noah’s descendent, or son, Shem, is going to come who? The Messiah—or the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15.
What’s going on in Genesis 6 is another outworking of the seed of the woman, seed of the serpent conflict announced in Genesis 3:15. So, if you don’t understand Genesis 3:15, you don’t understand Genesis 4. If you don’t understand Genesis 3:15, you don’t understand Genesis 6. I could make the case that you can’t understand almost anything in the Bible without understanding Genesis 3:15.
So, it was one of Satan’s strategies to prevent the Messiah from being born. God, just like He got around the Genesis 4 issue through the birth of Seth, got around the Genesis 6 issue through the protection of the genetic purity of Noah. So Satan lost round two.
One of the things that happened is the demons involved in that particular Genesis 6 sin, were put in prison. When we get to demonology, I’ll show you very clearly that the Bible tells you that some demons are in jail. Some are free because Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
So, you’ve got some demons in jail, some free, and if you don’t have angelology in Genesis 6, you don’t have any explanation as to why some are incarcerated and some are free. That’s why, when the Bible mentions those demons in jail, it connects it with the days of Noah. Which I won’t be going into today, but I’ll show you that when we get to that particular section of teaching material.
The angels that were involved in the Genesis 6 sin were not all of Satan’s demons but some of them. And because they left their natural abode and did something completely heinous—in this case, trying to contaminate the genetics of the human race—they went into immediate incarceration.
Jesus Christ, in between His crucifixion and resurrection, went to where those incarcerated demons—who sinned in Noah’s day—are, and He preached victory over them. (1 Peter 3:19-20) Now, when people see that word “preach,” they think, “Well, Jesus went to evangelize people in hell.” And they come up with all these explanations. It’s not talking about humans in hell; it’s talking about demons in incarceration because of what happened in Genesis 6.
And the verb there in Greek is not EUANGELIZO, which is the verb for evangelism. The verb that’s used there is KERUSSO, which means to herald or proclaim. So, what Jesus did in between His death and His resurrection is, He descended to where these demons are in jail and He proclaimed to them that they lost.
They lost what? They lost in their attempt to prevent the birth of the Messiah—because that’s what’s happening in Genesis 6. The Messiah was born! We’re coming up on Christmas, and that’s what we ought to be thinking about at Christmas time: that God somehow, despite all of these satanic attempts, allowed His Messiah to be born. It’s a miracle!
Jesus, in between His crucifixion and resurrection, descended to where these spirits—“spirits” is always angels or fallen angels—are locked up, and He proclaimed to them that they lost! So, that’s round three that Satan lost! See that?
The number four—we know what Jesus did on the Cross, that His sacrificial death bridged the gap between fallen humanity and a holy God, making the opportunity for human salvation possible. So by believing the gospel as a human being, I (Hebrews 2:14) am delivered from the fear of death that has haunted human beings their whole lives.
All of those passages I have there on number four—I wish we had time to look at every single one of them—show the defeat that Satan experienced through the death—the sacrificial death—and then authenticated… Because anybody can die, right? It’s quite a different deal if someone says they’re going to die—and says they’re going to rise from the dead—and then says, “I’m attaching the weight of the sin of the world to My sacrificial death.” Anybody can say that, but only God can actually rise from the dead and authenticate the whole thing. So, Satan suffers defeat number four at that point. Now, that’s all in our past.
Defeat five is where Satan (Revelation 12:9) is evicted from heaven permanently. You say, “Wait a minute. In point number one, you said he was initially evicted from heaven?” And he was! But apparently, he can still go into heaven—not to worship and serve as he once did as a high-ranking angel, but to communicate and accuse.
Job 1 and 2—the earliest book of the Bible that we have—talks about how Satan made his presence to God amongst the other sons of God (angels) and made an accusation against Job. So, obviously, Satan can go into heaven to do this.
We know this from the New Testament because Jesus said to Peter in Luke 22:31, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat…” That would be a pretty scary conversation. But then Jesus says, “but I have prayed for you…” I’d be like, “Whew! Thank You!”
So, clearly, he has some kind of access to heaven. But what you learn in Revelation 12:9 is that access disappears. When does it disappear? It disappears the moment the beast desecrates the temple—exactly 3 1/2 years—or 42 months—into the Tribulation period.
That’s why Revelation 12 portrays Satan—beginning around verse 9—as plummeting to the earth knowing he has but a short time. What short time are we talking about? Well, the Tribulation period is seven years. The beast desecrated the temple midway through the Tribulation period. So how much time does Satan have left? Three and a half years. Or sometimes the Bible uses the synonym, “42 months.” Sometimes it’ll use the synonym, “1260 days.”
Sometimes it’ll use the synonym, “a time, times, and a half a time.” A “time” is a Jewish year; “times,” plural, two Jewish years; “half a time,” half a Jewish year. What is 1 + 2 + 1/2? That’s 3 1/2 years, right? So, these are all synonyms that are being used. These are all synonyms that are essentially being employed to explain that second half of the Tribulation period.
So, midway through the Tribulation period Satan loses the access that he had to communicate and accuse. And he does—as desperate people do—the only thing he’s got left in his playbook, which is to gobble up Israel. Because he knows that through Israel the Kingdom will come, but he suffers a defeat there.
Then, when he fails to gobble up Israel, one-third of the Jews acknowledge Yeshua as their Savior and Jesus returns at the end of the seven year Tribulation period to rescue the nation of Israel and consequently sets up His Kingdom. Moving us into Revelation 20:1-10.
The sixth part of Satan’s defeat is that he’s incarcerated in a place called the abyss for thousand years, while the beast and the false prophet are thrown into the Lake of Fire. Now why, once again, is Satan incarcerated and yet the beast and the false prophet are put into the Lake of Fire? Because God has one more purpose for Satan, which we’ve explained earlier. Because history is what? Pedagogical. God still has one more point on His PowerPoint slide to make, and He needs Satan around long enough to do it.
But once God finishes the lecture—hit click—you don’t need the PowerPoint slide anymore. Satan is thrown to where his companions are. Not were—are! That takes us to number seven, Revelation 20:10, where he will then be thrown into the Lake of Fire. So, all of this is explaining that Satan, throughout biblical history, is not destroyed in one fell swoop; it happens progressively.
When you read Genesis 3:15, you have to see in it not just one whack and it’s over! What you have to see in it is a progressive defeat. Satan is trying to stop this process from happening—and that’s the significance of the heel being bruised. Now, if your heel is bruised, you can recover from that, can’t you?
But if your head is crushed, can you recover? You can’t recover! So, “Satan, you’re going to be able to cause your problems. And you’re going to be able to inflict momentary damage. But your ultimate defeat—the destruction of your head—is on the horizon.”
So, where are we living today? Because everybody always wants to know, “How does this relate to me?” Right? Here’s how it relates to you. We’re living after number four but before numbers five, six, and seven. So, we’re living in between the fourth and the fifth stage.
Here’s an analogy that I like to use from the legal world. It’s the only one that makes sense to me, probably because of my training as a lawyer. And those of you who like this, fine. If not, just discard it. But we’re living in between conviction and sentencing. That’s what we’re living between. Because when someone is accused of a crime, then they’re tried by a jury of their peers. And if they are convicted by that jury beyond a reasonable doubt, they become a “con” at that point. They are convicted. So, they are defeated.
And if you’ve actually watched someone in a courtroom… I did jury duty not long ago; I was on a case. And the defendant? You just look at his body language when the jury comes in with their verdict. The guy just slumped over in his chair, and he was just the most despondent person visually I could think of at that moment.
And that’s where Satan is—he’s convicted! The conviction is in, which means the only thing the convict has left on his horizon is what? The sentencing.
The conviction stage—or what we call the guilt phase—and the sentencing phase are typically (at least this is how it worked in California) two different parts of a trial. So, after the accused has been convicted, then you have a separate phase of the trial called the sentencing phase where the judge assigns sentence.
So, what has happened to Satan is that he has been convicted, but we don’t have the sentence yet imposed. The sentence won’t start getting imposed until numbers five, six, and seven. See that? Which helps you understand the mindset of Satan. He’s going down, so his goal is to take as many people down with him as he possibly can.
Now, the analogy in the Bible that’s given to us by the Holy Spirit to show us typologically of the time period that we’re in—between conviction and sentencing—is the Saul/David narrative. If you understand the Saul/David narrative, you will understand exactly where we are in human history.
You remember that David was anointed as the next king of Israel, 1 Samuel 16:13, and he didn’t immediately take the throne, did he? Because someone else was on the throne. And who was that? Saul, who had the Holy Spirit withdrawn from him (1 Samuel 16:14). So, Saul is governing the nation without the anointing of God.
Saul is consequently an illegitimate usurper for the simple reason that the kings are supposed to come from which tribe? Judah (Genesis 49:10). What was Saul’s tribal heritage? He was a Benjamite; he never should’ve been on the throne to begin with (1 Samuel 9:21).
So, here’s the scenario. David is anointed as king but is not yet ruling. Saul—an illegitimate usurper—is running the nation. So why did God allow that weird era of history to take place? Because history is what? Pedagogical! God was putting the nation through its paces, so to speak.
If people walked by faith, they followed David. That’s why there’s all this information about, “God doesn’t look at the outer appearance; God looks at the heart.” If you want to align yourself with David, you’ve got to walk by faith.
A minority within the nation of Israel did that; they’re called, “David’s mighty men.” But if you walk by sight, you followed who? Saul. That’s why the Samuel books, particularly 1 Samuel 9:2, keeps commenting on Saul’s appearance. You read that and say, “Why do I care what the guy looks like?” Because that’s the basis on which you followed him: You followed him by sight. And, sadly, the majority in the nation of Israel during that transitionary time period followed Saul.
Now, take exactly what I said and transfer it to today. That’s exactly what’s happening right now. Jesus—like David—has been anointed as king of this earth. When did He get that anointing? I would guess at His resurrection or ascension (Psalm 2:7, Psalm 110:1). So, Jesus is the anointed king, but He is not now ruling the earth because an illegitimate usurper is on the throne—a Saul like character—called who? Satan.
And Satan should’ve never been given authority over this earth to begin with. He’s an illegitimate ruler. Why? Because God originally assigned the authority over the earth to Adam.
So, here I am in the exact same situation! Jesus is the anointed king, and I’ve got an illegitimate ruler on the throne. So if I follow Jesus, I walk by…? Faith! That’s the only way you could do it! Because you don’t see anything in your eyesight that would give you the impression that Jesus is ruling now. And He’s going to rule one day!
So, if I come to Christ and accept Him as my ruler now, I have to do it completely by faith. Just like David’s men had to trust that God was going to one day raise up David—and they did that totally by faith. And there is a minority of people today that are doing that. That’s why Jesus talked about the narrow road (Matthew 7:14). Just like a narrow group of people accepted David, a narrow group of people are accepting Christ today.
But if I follow Satan, I’m walking not by faith. I’m walking by what? Sight. This is why you run into all of these kinds of statements in the Bible like 2 Corinthians 4:18 which says, “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
So, in David’s and Saul’s time period, if you walked by sight, you followed Saul. If you walked by faith, you followed David. If you walk by sight today, you ignore Jesus and you walk according to the pattern of this world—what you can see. But if you walk by faith, you follow Christ.
The majority—just like back in the nation of Israel—was on the wrong road because they were walking by sight. A minority was on the right road, and that’s what’s happening today. A majority is on the wrong road; a minority is on the right road.
Goodness gracious, I was about as excited as anybody when I started to discover this typology. I don’t think it’s unique to me; I think I found reference to this in Alva J. McClain’s book The Greatness of the Kingdom. I just didn’t see it fleshed out the way I think it needs to be fleshed out as revealed in this chart form.
So, understand where we are in human history. We’re right in between the anointing of David…and yet we haven’t had the dethronement of Saul yet. We are living right in between the anointing of Christ…but Satan hasn’t been dethroned yet.
Back to my original point. Why is God allowing this era of history to transpire? Because history is pedagogical. He’s forcing. See what God is doing? He’s forcing every person to choose. And every person—whether they know it or not—whether they’re following Christ or following Satan—is making a choice. If you ignore Christ—just like if you ignored David’s anointing—that’s a choice! See that? It’s fascinating!
So, that takes us to the end of Satan—his existence, personhood, names and titles, original state, first sin, and works. The next week I’m with you we’ll be moving into demonology. Let’s pray.
“Father, we’re grateful for Your truth and the things that it reveals to us. Help us to understand the season that we’re in according to Your Word so that we can be all that You’d have us to be in this age. We’ll be careful to give You all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name.”
And God’s people said, “Amen.”